Derby Dream Bet on the Sam Davis and other Tampa stakes selections

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

February 10th, 2017

Those that confidently backed Classic Empire with a $5 Win bet in last week's Holy Bull (G2) didn't qualify for the final round of's $25,000 Kentucky Derby Dream Bet. Hopefully, the short-priced winners of the Withers (G3) and Robert B. Lewis (G3), El Areeb and Royal Mo, bailed you out instead.

If by chance you swung and missed on all three preps last week, there's still time to qualify, and those that were successful on one or more races last week can pad their earnings this week for an opportunity to win Qualifying Round Prizes. More information on the contest and prizes can be found here.

This week's lone Derby prep, the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, is one of the more contentious we've seen so far this year. I wrote some initial thoughts about two of the top three contenders, McCraken and No Dozing, on Wednesday after the draw, and I'll stick by what I wrote.

McCraken might be the better contender come Derby time, but the Davis seems less of a must-win for him than for No Dozing. The latter has been based at Tampa all winter and thus knows the track, and has local star rider Daniel Centano in the irons. He's the value play in the top slot.

In the undercard stakes, Elate will be an overwhelming favorite to win the $100,000 Suncoast for three-year-old fillies. Keep in mind, though, that six years ago Bill Mott sent away the 8-5 favorite in this race and she ran up the track. Her name was Royal Delta.

Trainer Chad Brown is unlikely to have the favorites in either the Tampa Bay (G3) or Endeavour (G3), but Catapult and Light In Paris both look serious threats as the probable second choices in their respective fields.

It could be an afternoon of grinding on Tampa's four stakes, but we'll be watching the tote for any possible market discrepancies. Good luck.